By: Andre Boysen

The digital ID evolution that was gradually advancing prior to 2020 exponentially accelerated for both individuals, governments and businesses amid the global pandemic in March. COVID-19 increased the need to drastically evolve Canada’s digital ecosystem and forced nearly a decade of innovation into a span of just nine months – years of innovation acerated into months. New digital advancements are making remote operations, transactions and communications resilient against the prolonged work-from-home environment, planting the long overdue seed necessary to future-proof Canada’s digital economy.

The benefits of touch free ID in 2020

Progress towards touch free ID has been an asset throughout the pandemic by helping eliminate the inconvenient and unwanted, physical handling of documents, the sudden exclusion of in-person verification exposed major security gaps. Traditionally the gold standard of identity verification, face-to-face processes became challenging amid social distancing measures. Some well-intentioned accommodations introduce new vulnerabilities. Things like accepting expired documents or having a customer hold their documents against a glass partition present add risk. Digital verification platforms have offered support in patching over these gaps and provided safe and secure resources towards solving the sudden problem, progressing identity verification across digital channels.

Digital ID advancements in 2020 and for years to come

Canada experienced multiple breakthrough achievements throughout the year to form the steppingstones needed to progress touch free ID nationwide in 2021 and beyond. Earlier this year, the proper infrastructure for digital ID and authentication was established by the Pan-Canadian Trust Framework launched by the Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC).[1] This followed the concerning increase of digital sensitivities that left Canadians vulnerable with limited access to essential services. The new framework encourages more technological innovations to advance digital ID from being a business possibility to a business necessity. Digital identity with inclusion for everyone to transact with the method that suits them best.

This year has also improved security within Canada’s ecosystem of digital verification, enabling several victories around digital identity as remote work conditions progressed. As a result of COVID-19, Ontario officials allowed for wills to be signed electronically, while financial advisors were permitted to use e-signatures, removing a cumbersome barrier that slowed the client onboarding process. The Ontario government also announced plans to use smartphones for storing government issued ID, such as health card, driver’s license and birth certificate, on a digital wallet.[2] In 2021, Canada will be advancing its digital footprint as another Canadian province rolls out further dependance on digital ID measures.

Adoption in the healthcare sector was a major step in propelling it forward to meet the public’s need as our world became increasingly virtual and private healthcare information became a vulnerable target for bad actors. The adoption of Verified.Me by Dynacare has streamlined how patients verify their identities with secure and convenient access to their personal health information, eliminating time consuming in-person visits and calls.

From e-signatures to e-health, digital ID progressed quickly in 2020 to have an integral role in keeping our digital economy moving during the pandemic with improvements that will continue to propel the digital economy forward. With the success of these advancements creating safe and convenient access to online services, we are seeing more Canadians and businesses start to understand and appreciate the need for decentralized digital ID solutions that leverage new technologies to better protect their online assets. Most recently, TD adopted Verified.Me for its TD Precious Metals digital store to safeguard customers’ information and securely verify identities at every touchpoint through their journey on the platform. Digital authentication networks, like Verified.Me, provide future-proof solutions that enhance digital identification and have sparked the necessary developments for Canada’s digital transformation.

To learn more about Verified.Me, visit: https://verified.me/.

[1] https://diacc.ca/2020/09/15/newly-launched-digital-id-framework-to-begin-testing-in-canada/

[2] https://www.thestar.com/politics/provincial/2020/10/19/covid-19-is-accelerating-the-pace-of-delivering-digital-government-services.html